The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000 was a watershed in the evolution of international women's rights and peace and security issues. It is the first formal and legal document from the Security Council that requires parties in a conflict to respect women's rights and to support their participation in peace negotiations and in post conflict reconstruction (see appendix for full text and the chapter on international policies and legal mechanisms for a detailed discussion). Resolution 1325 did not, however, emerge in a vacuum. It was the outcome of a concerted effort by a number of international women's organisations and networks, working in partnership with supportive governments and UN entities.
It was also a result of the changing climate of opinion among policy-makers throughout the 1990s. This opinion has increasingly stressed the need for the international community to embrace principles of human rights, diversity, good governance and participation when responding to situations of insecurity and violent conflict. The discussion below provides an overview of the evolving policy and conceptual discourse related to peace and security broadly and women more specifically. It also provides a broader context for the analyses and information provided in other chapters of this Toolkit.